Côte serves up French classics in stylish surroundings

Côte serves up French classics in stylish surroundings 2023.The classical building which is home to the Brighton branch of Côte remains one of smartest venues in the city and like the popular French brasserie is smart and stylish without being too stuffy.

Côte has been offering French-inspired contemporary all-day dining since 2007 and is in rude health post-pandemic, and operates 80-plus restaurants across the UK.

A reputation for good quality food at the higher end of casual dining, has stood the group in good stead and when we visited on a pre-Christmas Friday lunch time it was absolutely heaving with punters.

The ambience was nicely buzzing and completely shocking in the restaurant’s well-lit ground floor.

We were ushered into the relatively quiet, huge-ceilinged and slightly brighter next floor, a new one to me, and a setting my lunch companion dreamily described (after a couple of glasses of vin rouge) as a ballroom in a cruise. boat.

It had a nice atmosphere and gave us the benefit of a sofa and half moon table, and wonderfully warm and attentive service from the slightly less pressured staff.

Accordingly, we were congratulated on our choice of first course, the rather attractive sharing board of Côte.

Sharing isn’t always important when it comes to charcuterie and melted cheese, but we kindly took turns trying the excellent truffle slices, saucisson sec, and Coppa sel Sec, and there was a semblance of order as we dipped bits of toasted baguette into the baked Camembert.

We calmly worked our way through some garlicky olives and came to terms, somehow, over the tempting honey tomatoes, I ate them all and she finished with the pickles.

Next, we were recommended two classic French dishes that were appropriate for the change of seasons and we chose a bottle of Comté Tolosan Tuber 2020, a medium-bodied unoaked Malbec with plums and a good all-rounder.

The Beef Cheek Bourguignon was a family dish slow-cooked for six hours, big on meaty flavor and comforting textures, with mushrooms, shallots, lardon bacon and a mountain of mashed potato.

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Longtime Côte fans will also recognize the Breton poulet, responsibly raised in northern France and the corn-fed chicken, served with herb butter on crispy skin.

But a look at the menu showed that Côte is expanding its horizons beyond the classics with dishes like pumpkin tabbouleh, inspired by the North African neighborhood of Marseille, using ingredients like giant harissa couscous, chickpeas and coconut yogurt. .

Our excellent shared pudding (enthusiastically promoted by our star waitress for its size and beauty), a vegan salted caramel chocolate tart, was another example of contemporary influences.

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A great lunch was punctuated in proper Gallic liqueur style with a couple of warm shots of Sassy Calvados from Normandy to put a spring in our steps and a chaleur dans nos coeurs.

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